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Feb 23

How do I engage students in commenting on the class blog?

Challenge 3 for the Student Blogging activity hosted supported by Edublogs is all about comments. While taking part in the 30 days to kick start your blog challenge, and as I continue to write here, I have realized how important comments and conversation is. However, on our class web site, students do not comment that often. Usually, they only comment on posts when they have questions about a particular assignment.

I was also curious about how often my kids are commenting (and checking the class web site), so I created a poll, and embedded it in our class site. You can see the results below. (The more than 10 times vote is mine!)

Basically, I need to find ways to engage my students more with commenting on our class site. I guess that means I need to explain in class my expectations and also pose questions that easily lead to conversation. This is something I will be working on over the next few weeks. I will keep you posted on how it goes.

Finally, many of my students were asking me for more information about the student blogging challenge, and so I created the image chart below to help answer some of those questions.

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  1. Kathryn

    Janelle
    This week in class we talked about commenting and what makes a good comment. I also attended the webinar by Linda Yollis on Techtalk Tuesday which is moderated by Murcha. Linda spoke largely on the commenting process. That was excellent.
    Like you on my class blog now mostly the students ask clarifying comments. However they comment on each others blogs and on other student blogs as part of the student challenge, so I am trying to encourage good commenting. I think it takes time.
    I liked your idea of the poll and I think I will make one for my class blog next week.
    Will be looking forward to hearing about your progress with commenting and any ‘wins’ that you feel you have in this area. I hope I will get some too!!
    Kathryn

    1. Janelle

      Thanks, Kathryn.

      I guess am also trying to envision what exactly I want the purpose of my class blog to be. If it is just to provide information about class activities to students and parents, perhaps clarifying comments are all that is needed.

      It will be interesting to see how the blog challenge changes things. I may need to take some time pondering the overall purpose of my class blog over the summer this year as well.

  2. Malyn

    Janelle,

    It took a long time for me to receive comments on my blog. The Teacher Challenge helped tremendously. So I guess I’m saying, be patient with your class.

    The Teacher Challenge has great ideas on fostering commenting, including visiting other people’s blogs. Also, it helps for students to realise the value of comments (here’s my take on it: Comment ON). Let them realise that they have a voice in that blog and commenting is one way of letting it be heard. Ask them questions they can respond to in the comments. Mention good comments in class (so they know you’re reading them).

    By the way, I love your student blogging badge and poster above. There’s an artist inside that space geek! :-)

    cheers,
    Malyn

    1. Janelle

      Thanks, Mayln. Those are some great suggestions. I think this year my focus has been so much on getting my students to use and get comfortable with their own blogs (since it’s all brand new to us this year), I haven’t really expected much on the class blog. I rarely ask questions that require a response. I guess that is something I should work on. I also got some great responses on Twitter after I posted this; I’ll have to share about that in another blog post.

      Thanks for the compliment about the “art” work. I do enjoy creating graphic design type things, too. :)

  3. Marsha Ratzel

    Dear Janelle,
    I think it’s super important to think about commenting as only one side of a digital conversation. I’m hoping that it will make a difference when students start thinking of blogging as a conversation. If they can come to think like that, I think commenting has a more authentic purpose.

    Do you think time will make a difference? By that I mean…time to read other people’s blog and to find ones that are good matches. It’s hard to get someone to visit your blog if they don’t know you and/or have a relationship. I’m hoping that giving assignments where students have to evaluate which bloggers are like them (by looking at their About Page), or have ideas that they want to imitate…for example…will help them want to share.

    Who really knows. It’s probably all of the above!!! I just know that I think it’s a grand experiment and it’s all good.

    Mrs. R

    1. Janelle

      Thanks, Marsha.

      I really do think our experiences doing the blogging challenge will help my students. They do know how to comment, and I periodically assign them to add comments to each others blogs, just not the class blog. Ultimately, I need to decide if commenting on the class blog is even important to me!

      I agree, time will make the difference. I also received a great list of comment-starters from a member of my Twitter PLN. I’m sure that will help initiate conversations.

  4. Anne Mirtschin

    Hi Janelle
    I really like the fact that you set up that survey. Feedback from that is almost similar to commenting. I agree that at the beginning, there is so much to learn that just the basics of blogging take up most of the time. However, as time goes by commenting is an important element. Sometimes, I ask the students to comment back and tell me what they have completed during the lesson. However, if several of my students try to comment at once, our system does not seem to be able to handle it. However, I would love to be able to encourage them to comment more and share in conversations both with me, as their teacher and also with their learning network.

    1. Janelle

      Thanks, Anne for the great idea. It would be really easy for my students to comment to the class blog about what they got completed during those days we are working on posts for their individual blogs. Commenting will definitely be a focus for me the remainder of the year since my students have definitely mastered writing posts.

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